Unlike misdemeanor offenses, felony offenses typically lead to far more significant legal penalties. Felony sentences can include
- Prison time
- Large fines
- Loss of the right to vote
- Loss of the right to own and possess firearms
- Difficulty restoring rights
- Difficulty expunging a criminal record
Even after a sentence is completed, Individuals with felony convictions face social stigma and other long-term consequences, including:
- Difficulty finding housing and employment
- Ineligibility for social programs, like food stamps
- Ineligibility to apply for certain graduate programs and federal student loans
Lawyer For Felony Offenses In Columbus, Ohio
It is essential to find an attorney if you have been arrested or believe an investigation could lead to your arrest. Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm represents clients facing these charges in Columbus and throughout Franklin County.
Call (513) 399-6289 today for a free initial consultation, and one of our experienced lawyers will review your case.
Overview Of Franklin County Felony Arrests
- How Do Felony Cases Usually Proceed In Ohio?
- What Are The Differences Between The Degrees Of Felonies In Ohio?
- Where Can I Find More Information About Felony Offenses In Columbus?
The criminal justice process is more complicated in felony cases than for misdemeanors. A preliminary hearing, sometimes called an “initial appearance, is the first stage in a felony case, although the hearing can be waived. These hearings typically occur at a municipal or county court. A preliminary hearing aims to determine whether the state prosecutor has enough evidence for the case to continue moving forward.
Under the Ohio Criminal Rules, a preliminary hearing must occur within ten days of an arrest if the person arrested is in jail. If the person arrested is not in jail, the hearing must occur within 15 days of the arrest. If the case continues, the judge will transfer the case to the Court of Common Pleas, located in all 88 counties. Franklin County’s Court of Common Pleas is located in Columbus.
An arraignment is a hearing where an alleged offender enters a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. In nearly every case, a plea of “not guilty” is the recommended choice at this stage. The alleged offender also has an option to hear a formal reading of the charges, although many individuals choose to waive the option. The judge typically sets bail, which is decided on three key factors:
- Severity of the charged crime
- Prior criminal record
- “Flight risk” (the likelihood that the alleged offender will flee to avoid court hearings)
Courts are also known to consider an alleged offender’s danger to self or others and ties to the local community (job, family support, living arrangements).
Although less common for felony charges, sometimes a judge will release an individual from jail and set conditions on the person to ensure their return to future hearings.
Getting To Trial
After the arraignment, there can be several hearings, and their purposes will differ depending on the needs of the case. Contrary to the many legal shows and high-profile cases are seen on TV, few cases result in trials. Because preparation and the trial itself often require significant cost and time, a defense attorney and prosecutor will typically negotiate an agreement, called a “plea agreement.” Although the trial is avoided, prosecutors will aggressively negotiate for a guilty plea, resulting in a conviction. Unlike a trial, a plea agreement allows us to aggressively argue and negotiate in response. Rather than relying on the verdict from several jurors in a trial setting, negotiating with a prosecutor often results in a considerably better outcome for our clients.
After prosecutors file formal charges, they are less likely to modify them. However, the team at Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm is highly skilled at finding weaknesses in prosecutors’ cases that can reduce or eliminate the original charges.
Fifth-Degree Felony — Maximum fine of $2,500 and 12 months in prison. Offenses in this category can include receiving stolen property, obstructing justice, and misuse of credit cards.
Fourth-Degree Felony — Maximum fine of $5,000 and 18 months in prison. Offenses in this category can include grand theft of a motor vehicle, vehicular assault, and certain offenses for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Third-Degree Felony — Maximum fine of $10,000 and five years in prison. Offenses can include certain sexual battery, arson, and robbery offenses.
Second-Degree Felony — Maximum fine of $15,000 and eight years in prison. These offenses can include certain aggravated theft, identity fraud, and felonious assault offenses.
First-Degree Felony — Maximum fine of $20,000 and 11 years in prison. First-degree felony crimes can include rape, aggravated burglary, voluntary manslaughter, and certain kidnapping offenses.
In Ohio, murder and aggravated murder are considered unclassified felony offenses and have their own sentencing guidelines and fines. A murder conviction can result in a life sentence in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000. An aggravated murder conviction can result in a maximum fine of $25,000 and the death penalty under rare circumstances.
Franklin County Common Pleas Court — The Common Pleas Court in Franklin County consists of three divisions:
- Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch
- Probate Division
General Division—hears felony-level offenses. The website provides information about judges, court rules, trial schedules, and assignment dockets. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions.
Franklin County Common Pleas Court-General Division
345 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Felony Sentencing Quick Reference Guide (Nov. 2021) — Although every Ohio felony level includes maximum fines and prison sentences, judges are not limited to those maximum punishments. Instead, judges use sentencing guidelines to determine prison sentences and fines. The guidelines provide purposes and principles of sentencing and allow judges to consider many factors when deciding sentences. This means that maximum sentences are one of many possibilities.
The Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission creates the Reference Guide. The Commission reviews Ohio’s sentencing statutes and patterns and provides recommendations for necessary statutory changes.
Find A Felony Arrest Lawyer In Columbus, Ohio
If you have been charged with a felony criminal offense in Ohio, it is in your best interest to retain legal representation as soon as possible. Joslyn Criminal Defense Law Firm defends clients in Columbus and surrounding Franklin County cities.
Brian Joslyn and his team of experienced criminal defense attorneys in Columbus, Ohio, are ready to evaluate your case and discuss your legal options. Call (513) 399-6289 or submit an online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.